Today, the average human body confronts an array of modern-day assaults a nutrient-poor, calorie-excessive diet, little to no activity, exposure to environmental toxins, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, negative thinking, and perhaps significant emotional turmoil. No wonder we emerge from the daily battle feeling utterly fatigued, lifeless, and on the verge of breakdown. Our bodies may respond to these injuries by putting on extra weight to protect it. In the small sliver of time available before significant health issues arise, we often turn to rapid, quick-fix solutions to delay the onset of some of the symptoms.
In the midst of this whirlwind of stress on the body, we know that, deep within, we need to take the right actions to be healthy. Although we may know that we have to eat more vegetables and get more exercise, we may be so preoccupied and focused on getting through another day that we ignore those inner pleas.
We want to be vibrant, healthy, inspired, and full of bountiful energy to give to the thoughts, actions, and emotions that allow us to live our best lives. My experience and observations suggest that there are many paths to finding this freedom. One of them is through the vehicle of nourishment.As human beings, we need external substances like food and water to keep us functioning optimally. In times of stress, we may need the help of specific nutrients to assist the cells with the necessary raw materials they require to harness sufficient energy and remove the accumulation of waste products. These substances enable the physical body to cope best with everyday events. When the physical body can flow and feel in control of its surroundings, it can free up more reserves to focus on its spiritual needs, including its life purpose and its connection with all of life.
We Are “Onioned” Beings
If you are reading this book, chances are you understand that a human being consists of several compressed layers, similar to those of an onion. Healing can occur by peeling away the layers. When we reach one layer— say, the emotional layer—and make a change, no matter how small or big, it ripples into every other aspect of our being, like a droplet of water losing itself in a pond. For seconds afterward, the pond is filled with the rhythmic beauty of concentric circles. Moreover, the composition of the pond has been changed forever because of that single, innocent droplet.
Food and nutrition are avenues that some people choose as paths to their healing. If you are especially drawn to diets and nutrition, it may simply be that food is what you need to get to where you need to be. No matter your choice of path, your journey will be symbolic for you in diverse ways. An underlying principle to remember throughout this is that your relationship to food and eating is symbolic of how you approach everything else in your life. Do you eat convenience foods because you are always on the run? Well, then perhaps you need to reassess where your attention needs to be, or reconsider what you need to make time for. Or are you eating alone, secretly, especially if you are feeling emotional? If so, what needs to come out in the open? What needs expressing? With whom do you need to surround yourself?
Certainly, your relationship to food can open you up to insight about what your life is like. It has been said: “As within, so without”—in other words, our internal environment mirrors our external surroundings. Thus your restoration to wellness lies in your awareness of what envelops you, how you engage with the world, and how you interact with food and eating.
The impact that food choices can have on our health can be incredibly significant, especially due to the sheer quantity of food we eat throughout our lifetimes—estimated at 60,000 to 100,000 pounds!
And we actually need all that just to exist on this planet. In fact, we are given many opportunities to make food selections that benefit the layers of our complex selves. A simple calculation of three meals a day, 365 days a year, for an average lifespan of seventy-six years means that we have almost 84,000 opportunities to have meaningful, healing interactions with food! There is unleashed potential in every single one of those interfaces. Each exchange carries the ability to bring us to a higher state of health, to keep us where we currently are, or to add to the pending avalanche of symptoms that culminate in disease.
In the grand theater of life, food takes center stage, as it serves our most primal need for survival, the bond we have with the Earth, and our intimate connections with each other. We fasten ourselves to the web of all living beings on the planet through the process of eating and being participants in the food chain. As a result, our incessant interaction with food takes on immense power and can define who we are. It is no wonder that people have strong opinions about how to eat.
Despite being constantly surrounded by food in all forms—from twenty-four-hour grocery stores to deluxe drive-thrus to vending machines—we ironically ignore its existence and our need for it. In the whirlwind of busy days, how many of us have thought to ourselves, or expressed to others, that having to eat “gets in the way” of doing more important things? Other people admit that they simply “forget” to eat. How can we neglect something so crucial to our survival? What message does this send forth? When we finally do make time to eat, we find ourselves unable to stop due to an unconscious longing for greater satisfaction and union in the midst of our hyperactive society and frequent fleeting social interactions with others. Yet with each hurried, unfulfilling bite, we step farther away from merging with everything with which food connects us—ourselves, our community, and nature.
Rather than experiencing a deeper level of understanding about foods and our bodies’ need for growth and maintenance, we fixate on the path of least resistance, or short-term quick-fixes. Is it any wonder that the “diet” approach to eating is a rollercoaster of disappointment? Instead, we should be envisioning foods as dancing molecules of energy that have the power and potential to uncover our highest selves. We should make food choices that support life-giving thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions. Our lives can be revolutionized completely when we alter our view of food! And the beauty of this miracle is that it can start as soon as your next bite.
Fortunately, the eating revolution has begun. For example, the “slow food” movement, which encourages the longer, savory experience of eating a gradually cooked meal at a restaurant, has emerged as the antithesis to fast food. Local, organically grown foods and free-range, animal-sourced foods are becoming more prevalent. We are gradually returning to a very simple, yet profound, interaction with food.
The Rainbow Diet: Unlock the Ancient Secrets to Health Through Foods and Supplements by Deanna Minich, PhD.